The Wonders of Avocados

Posted by Renee Chan on

Avocados. Undeniably delicious and creamy, they elevate simple foods like toast or salads to another level. Think that’s it? Nope! Avocados are a superfood, it’s no wonder they’re all the rage! Let’s explore avocados a bit further.

Nutritional Benefits of Avocado

Even though avocados may be treated more like a vegetable, they are fruits due to their seed - way to confuse everyone. However they are low in sugar making them a desirable addition to anyone’s (especially a diabetic’s) diet (6)!

Avocados are considered a superfood because they’re nutrient dense and have a high phytochemical content (1,2). Which is why avocados are such a great way to jazz up your dishes! Additionally, avocados contain a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids which positively affect the health of the bloodstream and may lower your risk of coronary heart disease (3,4). 

When we refer to eating avocados, we generally refer to the pulp/flesh of the fruit. But have you ever wondered whether you can eat the seed?

Eating Avocado Seeds

I know, it seems crazy to think you could eat the seed, right? Well, there’s increasing interest in the (possible) nutritional, health, and/or industrial benefits of avocado seeds which we toss out. 

Researchers have found that fat extracts from avocado seeds possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects at certain doses (5). Interestingly, the type of avocado cultivar, level of ripeness, and processing methods applied will affect the functional properties of avocados (1)

But Wait! Don’t Eat Them Yet...

Clinical trials still need to be conducted to determine whether avocado seeds are safe for human consumption. One concern is that there are compounds in avocado seeds that inhibit our body’s enzymes that could be harmful. Like the daily max intake of salt, a daily intake of avocado seed extract will most likely need to be determined (6). 

Overall, more research needs to be conducted before we can safely add avocado seeds into our diet. We’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat and we’ll update you when we hear!

Written by: Cailin Dennehy
Edited by: Ev Wong


References

  1. Salazar-López, Norma J., et al. "Avocado Fruit and by-Products as Potential Sources of Bioactive Compounds." Food Research International, vol. 138, no. Pt A, 2020, pp. 109774-109774.
  2. Harvard. “Superfoods or Superhype?” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard University, N.d., https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/superfoods/. Accessed on 29 December 2020.
  3. Araújo, Rafael G., et al. "Avocado by-Products: Nutritional and Functional Properties." Trends in Food Science & Technology, vol. 80, 2018, pp. 51-60. 
  4. FDA. “FDA Completes Review of Qualified Health Claim Petition for Oleic Acid and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease.” FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, November 19, 2018, https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-completes-review-qualified-health-claim-petition-oleic-acid-and-risk-coronary-heart-disease#:~:text=Oleic%20acid%20is%20a%20monounsaturated,risk%20of%20coronary%20heart%20disease. Accessed on 5 January, 2021.
  5. Alkhalaf, Maha I., et al. "Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Cancer Activities of Avocado (Persea Americana) Fruit and Seed Extract." Journal of King Saud University. Science, vol. 31, no. 4, 2019, pp. 1358-136.
  6. O’Brien, Sharon. “Is It Safe and Healthy to Eat the Seed of an Avocado?”. Healthline, healthline Media, 2018,https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-avocado-seed. Accessed on 29 December 2020.

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